Friday, March 27, 2015

Spaghetti with Creamy Avocado




If you are like me, who can eat avocados with anything, then you should try this recipe.

My daughter saw me cut the avocados and said' yew, green!".

 Then I  played the roll of a sneaky chef and made my 6 year old eat avocado with out any complaints! Sh.....

There is no butter or cream and is a perfect dish for all you low carb eaters!

There is no recipe, honestly and I did not take pictures as I cooked the dish! My kids finished this and I ended eating the creamy avocado on a simple bread toast for dinner.

Get Ready ( serves 2 kids)


  • Avocado 1, pitted and remove the flesh.
  • Bunch of cilantro, washed and picked
  • salt to taste
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled
  • 1 small green chili / optional
  • Lemon juice to tatste
  • Spaghetti or any pasta cooked aldente, ( took 3 fistful of dry spaghetti)
  •  1 tsp of olive oil
  • 4-5 grape tomatoes halved ( optional)
Go

  • In a blender/ food processor add the avocado, chili, cilantro, garlic, salt and lemon juice. blend till creamy, set aside.
  • Cook the pasta aldente, drain and toss in some olive oil
  • Add the avocado mixture to the pasta and toss them well in a bowl
  • Add the cherry tomatoes and serve.
I added a little of store brought marinara sauce over this for my little one and she did not even know.

Other variations:


  • Use basil or spinach to grind with the avocado.
  • Add some streamed corn or any beans of your choice to the cooked pasta.


How easy is that for a week night dinner, folks?

Check out my Chilled Avocado Soup and

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dates and Nut Energy Balls / Date Choco Nut Balls



I recently saw this recipe Here and had bookmarked it. My DH has an obsession for dates and had got this huge container. He ate most of it and some of it was sitting in my pantry for a while. I used them with available nuts at home and made a healthy and delicious snack in no time.

These are perfect as breakfast balls, after school snack or as a perfect sweet treat after meals!

They will also be great for prasad after bhajans, or pot luck dinners.

Get Ready ( makes about 20 -22 small balls)


  • 1 cup pitted and chopped dates ( used about 24 dates)
  • 1 & 1/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts ( I used Costco salted cashews and TJ's pistachios)
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder ( I used TJ's sipping chocolate)
  • 2 Tbsp dry dessicated coconut 9 available in Indian stores)
  • 1/2 tso Nescafe instant coffee\
  • Ghee/ oil to grease your hands for rolling
  • few drops of water as needed




I decided to add the coconut at the last minute and hence missing in the initial picture.

Go


  1. Microwave the chopped dates for 30 secs, so it becomes soft.  Add this to the blender or food processor with cocoa powder and instant coffee. Blend till the dates are made into a finely coarse paste and the coco powder and coffee powder are well incorporated. I do not have a food process or and used my preethi mixie. It will come out like this. This paste is going to bind all the other ingredients and will be able to hold its shape as a ball.





2. Add the coarsely chopped nuts and coconut, sprinkle some water if needed. grease your (clean ) hands and mix the nuts into the date mixture. Again if you have a food processor, coarsely whizz the nuts. I used my knife to chop them.

3. Apply some ghee to your hands and roll them into balls of desired size.


Other variations:

Use any available nuts.
Adding some cardamom powder will be even better!

Enjoy and let me know how it turned out!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chappathi Crumble / Roti Crumble




Vaghereli Roti, is the name for this up cycled dish with left over rotis. They are made pretty spicy, however I made them tolerable to our taste.
Here is a very quick and easy recipe with left over chapathi's. I guess this is the equivalent of idli upma to chapathis or rotis. I had only 3 rotis left over and used whatever vegetables i had in the fridge. Feel free to experiment with other vegetables.

A perfect lunch box dish or a tea time snack!


Get Ready

  • 3 left over chapathis ( cut them into small ribbons with a kitchen scissors or rip with your hand)
  • 1/4 onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots and cabbage ( use bell peppers, beans, carrot, corn, potatoes, peas)
  • 2  thai green chili slit
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder or red chilli powder ( or to taste)
  • a small wedge of lemon






Go

  • In a pan, add oil. when hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle
  • Add the chopped onions and green chillies and saute till onions are soft
  • Add the shredded cabbage, carrots a little salt and cook uncoverd till the veggies are partially done. You want a crunch in the vegetables, don't over cook them


Add the chopped chappathi, salt to taste, garam masala and toss them all together on medium heat.


Reduce the heat, sprinkle a little water and cook till all the spices are well incorporated for 2-3 mins


Turn the heat off, garnish with cilantro and serve hot with a wedge of lemon


I packed this for my own lunch and it tasted so good and was not dry at all!

Enjoy and have a great weekend folks!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Verum arisi Adai




Many people, especially the South Indians are aware of adai. It is a crepe made with rice and different types of lentils/ dals and served for breakfast or evening tea.

Verum arisi adai is a dish that i have seen only in the palakkad brahmin households. My mom and grandmother used to make this for evening tiffin or as a palagaram on fasting days.

It is made with just boiled rice and coconut with no other lentils. It is kind of different from aappam as there is no fermentation and not using pacha arisi/ raw rice.

The main flavor comes from the grated coconut that is added to the rice batter.

Tastes good with a ny chutney, pulishery or my favorite " Vellam" / jaggery!

Get Ready



  • 1 .5 cups Boiled rice/ Puzhungal arisi
  • 3/4 cup grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • water to grind
  • Curry leaves a few sprigs

Go:


  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 6-8 hrs
  • Defrost your grated coconut if using frozen one.
  • Grind the rice in a blender, adding little water at a time.
  • Add the grated coconut when the rice is partially ground adding water as needed
  • Grind the rice coconut mixture to a fine dosa like batter consistensy.
  • Add salt to taste and mix well. Do not ferment, just refrigerate the batter for later use.

To make the adai:

Heat a tawa. Add about 1/4 cup of batter and spread it a like a dosa.
 cook with oil on both sides and serve hot.

Note:

It tastes good when served piping hot!

Enjoy verum arisi adai!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Minty Carrot Rice




Here is a very easy one pot meal for a week night dinner. The fresh smell of mint will remove all your stress y after a long day at work or managing your home.

I used a pressure pan, but you can cook the initial step in a pan and then cook the rice with all the other ingredients in a rice cooker too.


Get Ready ( serves 2-3)


  • 1 large carrot  washed, peeled & grated
  • 1/4 cup frozen peas
  • A handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 1 small onion thinly sliced
  • 1 green chilli slit
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water



To temper


  • 1/2 tsp ghee/ clarified butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green cards on
  • 1 clove
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 2 points of star anise
  • 1 tbsp chopped cashews

Go


  • In a small Pressure cooker or pan, add the ghee and olive oil. add the the ingredients under temper to the oil. once the the cashews turn golden, add the sliced onions and green chili.
  • Saute till the onions are translucent.

  • Add the grated carrots, peas, cumin powder, red chilli powder and toss them.
  • Add the dry rice, water, salt to taste and mix.

  • Adjust salt level, and then throw in the mint leaves.

  • Cover and cook for 1 whistle and then simmer for 3-4 mins.
  • Open the cooker once the steam is released.

  • Serve hot with raita, papad or chips!

Variations : Add garlic, cilantro instead of mint leaves and using some coconut milk plus water to cook the rice.

Any left overs, are you kidding me?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Mezhukkupuratti / Spaghetti Squash Curry



Spaghetti Squash is a vegetable that I've known here in the US. All the google searches came up with the recipe of using it as a spaghetti with tomato  sauce. That was not too exciting for me. I wanted to make a dish out of the squash that could be eaten with rice, rasam.

Foe those, who don't know, spaghetti squash is a low cal vegetable from the squash family. The flesh inside it looks like this spaghetti or semiya.



source: here

I baked it first and then cooked it with Indian spices. However, I guess you can steam it in a pressure cooker as well. I am going to try that and update the blog.

It tasted so good with rasam, rice and curd rice! The use of little coconut oil brings out a great aroma for this bland vegetable.

The tadka with coconut oil and asafoetida will be so inviting in your kitchen!


Get Ready ( serves 2-3)


  • 1 Spaghetti squash
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp olive oil or vegetable oil
  • salt to taste


For tempering/ tadka


  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal/ ulutham paruppu
  • 1 red chilli split into 2
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper corns
  • few sprigs of curry leaves
  • A pinch of asofoetida
Go

  • Pre heat the oven to 400 F
  • Wash and cut the spaghetti squash length wise. remove all the seeds and strands

  • Arrange the squash with cut side facing down in a baking dish. Add a little water inside the baking dish. this will help the squash steam and cook better.



  • Bake in the oven for 30 mins.

  • Once cooled, take a fork and shred all the flesh. It will come out as long noodles. Set this aside.



  • In a pan, add the oil and do the tadka. Once the mustard seed splutters, and urad dal turns goldern brown, add the curry leaves, asafoetida and the shredded spaghetti squash. 



  • Add salt and mix all gently till combined. Cook uncovered till all the water has been absorbed for about 5- 10 mins. Check salt and adjust according to taste.
  • Serve with  steaming rice as a side dish or with chapathi's

Garnish with cilantro and squeeze a little lime juice and serve ( Optional).

My picky 6 year old and ever hungry teenage son loved it!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thakkali Kai kootu / Raw tomato curry










My mother used to make this kootu with raw" nattu thakkali". We used to eat with hot rice, ghee and puli inji. A simple and satisfying meal. When I saw tomatillos in the supermarkets here,I bought them home thinking they were thakkali kai. I was all excited to make the same kootu.

It was an epic fail, i have to admit!

a) they were unbelievably tart and
b) it became so mushy! But the nerd in me did not want to accept that failure!

I learnt later that the tomatillos are not the same as raw tomatoes that we get in India. They are widely used in Mexican cooking for making salsas and other sauces which need the tartness! You learn something every day!

Recently, we visited a farm in sunny southernArizona, where there wide fields with okra, bell peppers, black eyed peas, beans etc. I hand picked some regular green tomatoes fresh from the plants. I wanted to try the same tomato kootu this and it was delicious.

So, here is the recipe.


Get ready


  • 4 green tomatoes/ thakkali Kai
  • 1/3 cup dry moong dal, washed and  pressure cooked with a little turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal / ulutham paruppu
  • Couple of squirts of asafetida
  • Curry leaves few
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt to taste


To grind


  •  2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 green chili ( more as per your taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds


Go


  • Wash & chop green tomatoes into medium sized chunks
  • Cook and mash dal and keep aside
  • Grind everything under grind with little water
  • In a pan, add oil and do tadka with mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and asafetida.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté for few seconds.


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  • Add a little salt, reduce flame and cook the tomatoes covered till soft.

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  • Add the mashed dal and little water.
  • Adjust salt to taste and let the tomatoes and dal come to a boil.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and cook for 3-4 secs.


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  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with rice, rasam or chapathi!


What's  your experience cooking  with tomatillos?